Gray Divorce Doubled-A Real Estate Nightmare

Real Estate Agent SL3287291

I was shocked when I read a recent headline: 

Divorce rate for adults ages 50+ has doubled in past 25 years.

Imagine, heading full stem ahead into your retirement years and you can't stand your spouse. But a recent Pew Research Center report says that is what is taking place.


What is going on with the Senior population?

We have been hearing for some time that people are remaining healthy and living longer, maybe even 30 years longer.

Could it be that the increase in "Gray Divorce" is a result of living longer?

Is a contributor the wide spread "Entitlement Mentality"?

"I have done my share and now it is time for me."

I think that over the years I have seen the "Stigma" of divorce drop to nearly zero. When I was a child, if I heard of anyone getting a divorce it was a really big scandal.

Many of the gray divorced couples have had successful careers and made a good income. They felt more financially stable.

But, we find that Gray Divorcees are really less financially secure. They do not have the benefits from their former spouse to make life more comfortable.

Many of them had just completed putting their children through college and that put a big dent in their retirement funds.

Many go through with the divorce out of emotions and often don't consider they will each have some kind of residence to maintain.

Frequently, couples going through divorce are so angry at each other that they will not sit down and work out a just settlement for each of them. Can each afford to purchase a separate home? Will they have enough to maintain it? Will they have to deal with reality and Rent?

There are situations,all too often, where one, usually the man will be so angry they stop paying bills and mortgage and the joint property gets foreclosed on. Now they have wrecked their credit and have seriously impaired their ability to get a suitable home for each.

If a divorce is looming it is in the best interest of both parties to get with professionals who can guide them through the process in a sane and equitable manner.


I am a Seniors Real Estate Specialist and trained in Real Estate Divorce. I have built a great team of resources to help divorcing couples avoid the catastrophic results of a hotly contested divorce.

Aging brings it's own challenges and changes. Gray Divorce is a major challenge that can upset the whole apple cart.

If you want a compassionate, understanding and experienced professional to Move You In The Right Direction, Contact me and Learn More:

 Life Style Transitions Specialist

Comments (45)

John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Tammy, I think you have a good point. We forget that each generation does age and carries attitudes with them.

My mother was divorced at a very young age but married my father and they were married for over 50 years.

Thanks for your comments.

Jun 12, 2017 03:33 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Hi John!  I believe we're of the same generation - it was scandalous when couples divorced when we were young. Now, it's like saying someone fell and broke a hip - it's mind-boggling the number of divorces.

I will say, I'm over 50 and if my hubby divorces me, we will be in your sane and equitable category! I can't say it's never going to happen but, I certainly never expect it to happen to me. And, I would never partake in the antics that some divorcing couples do  - like cutting the VW in half!

Jul 08, 2017 04:49 PM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Debe Maxwell, CRS you have a good understanding of the changes in society and how impacting those changes can be. It is important for agents to understand how divorce affects the sale of a property.

Cutting the VW in half seems a bit extreme, but we find in divorce the mind can go wild.

May your marriage be whole and healthy.

Thanks for your great comments.

Jul 09, 2017 04:33 AM
Jane Peters
Home Jane Realty - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles real estate concierge services

Dorie posted about this too. First time I had read it. I think it is probably because people are living longer and don't want to be tied to their partner any longer. It takes guts, but is healthier overall.

Jul 18, 2017 01:29 PM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Thanks Jane, I am finding that many people are not really aware of this trend in seniors to divorce.

Many factors play into this, but it is something we need to be prepared to handle with our consumers.

Jul 18, 2017 03:20 PM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

What a great post and something that should be discussed more openly as well. We just heard from a neighbor that her husband has left, just as the kids start college. It seems the mentality is to only care about oneself and not those you should be caring for, your family including your spouse. Marriage is never easy, but if entered with lots of forgiveness and love it can be a delight.

Aug 09, 2017 09:19 AM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543 I appreciate you adding great comments to the conversation. I agree this topic needs a broader discussion.

Marriage is indeed an ongoing process that takes patience, love and forgiveness.

Aug 09, 2017 09:36 AM
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


Divorces have become a big part of the real estate market.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Aug 15, 2017 07:50 PM
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


Ok did the other half get the other half?

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Oct 06, 2017 06:47 PM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Lou, I doubt the other half got the other half, it was probably the lawyers.

Thanks for the comment.

Oct 07, 2017 03:23 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Oh my, one time a divorcing couple was selling a house, and I came along with my excited buyer. Offer made and accepted, inspection done, and then contract just wasn't getting signed. The deal wound up dying because the divorcing wife wanted her soon-to-be-ex husband to agree to pay a huge charge card bill before she would sign the contract. The bill had nothing to do with the house sale, but she refused to sign, and he refused to pay. We found another home. What a pain.

Oct 11, 2017 06:32 AM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

 Kat Palmiotti  this is the attitude for so many. Emotions get the better of them and it often costs them so much, even losing the house.

Thanks for sharing your comments and experience.

Oct 11, 2017 07:09 AM
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

You bring up a subject that is obviously more common than we think, yet rarely think about.  One of the most awkward closings I have ever attended was a (younger) couple divorcing (not my clients) - they had to be in separate rooms for the settlement, which I found just plain sad.  They could not even be civil to each other.  How do things get so bad? 

Regardless, I agree wholeheartedly with Patricia Feager 's comments. 

Oct 14, 2017 04:37 AM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Susan Haughton when we stop to remember that divorce affects about 50% of adults, then it is likely that we will encounter this difficult situation in real estate. When we become aware of the increase of divorce in the older section of the population it really gets sticky. Many will not have a lot of options for their next move simply because of finances.

Then you add in the adversarial attitude and it is just not a pleasant situation.

I really appreciate your comments.

Oct 14, 2017 04:58 AM
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

I think there are many things that contribute to this phenomenon, John Wiley.  I know I definitely see older buyers and sellers that have suffered through a divorce far more often than I used to taking part in transactions.   And you're absolutely right about the need to work with someone experienced and educated in these situations ... both agent and LO.  Someone can get burnt badly financially, if not doing so ...


Oct 18, 2017 09:51 AM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Thanks Gene for contributing to this important and growing area.

Constantly being educated on current topics and trends is vital to be a professional that is equipped to best serve the consumer.

Oct 19, 2017 05:41 AM
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

John, I've also seen an uptick in my business among "gray divorces".

Oct 20, 2017 08:36 PM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Michelle Carr-Crowe-Top 1% Diamond Certified Real Estate Team Sells Cupertino San Jose Homes-Just Call 408-252-8900  I am getting more agents responding that they are now observing more divorcing "grays".

It would be good if agents prepared to understand the different needs so that they can best serve this group.

Thanks for commenting.

Oct 21, 2017 04:34 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

John Wiley - Even though I have never been divorced, this is such a great topic of discussion. I appreciate Family topics like this and hope you continue to bring these types of issues to our attention here on ActiveRain. 

Have a great day!


Nov 08, 2017 07:30 AM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Thanks Patricia for your encouragement. Unfortunately we are surrounded by a world with family issues. I would like to think becoming more aware will help us be prepared to make a difference in their lives.

Nov 08, 2017 07:37 AM